Mark Charles Barnett
Mark Charles Barnett. Photo via Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Florida man sentenced for financial plot to bomb Target stores

Mark Charles Barnett was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison on Wednesday. The convicted sex offender was sentenced by a U.S. District Judge for attempted arson, possession of an unregistered destructive device, and making an unregistered destructive device.

According to the Department of Justice, Barnett, 50, offered a confidential source $10,000 to place improvised explosive bombs inside Target stores. The stores were along the east coast of the United States, from New York to Florida.

The Florida man purchased the bomb components and proceeded to assemble at least 10 of the explosive devices. To avoid detection, Barnett disguised the destructive devices inside the packaging of common grocery items.

Barnett had financial aspirations by the potential act of terrorism. Immediately following the bombs exploding in the Target stores, Barnett theorized he would be able to cheaply acquire shares of Target, then sell the stock at a profit when prices of the department store retailer rebounded.

“If someone has to die so that I can make some money,” Barnett said to a confidential source, “so be it.”

Barnett was arrested on Feb. 14, 2017. It was soon after the confidential source received the explosive devices with his instructions and surrendered them to the FBI. An abundance of incriminating evidence, such as leftover bomb components and articles describing stock options were recovered at Barnett’s Ocala house.

“As subject matter experts in explosives, this case represents ATF’s urgency in responding to information that someone would be planning a crime that had the potential to harm numerous people in a retail setting,” Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Special Agent in Charge, Daryl McCrary said.

Barnett, a registered sex offender, had been conditionally released from state prison in 2013. He was previously charged with multiple felony convictions for kidnapping, sexual assault, and grand theft, according to the FBI. He was also previously convicted of kidnapping in Mississippi.

Writer:Michael Mora
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